Speaking at the launch of PREMIUM TIMES’ Dubawa fact-checking platform in Abuja some months ago, Yemi Kale, Nigeria’s statistician-general hinted that Nigeria’s unemployment rate was really an issue of underemployment because many job seekers try their hands on non-full-time jobs to make ends meet in the absence of any social safety net or unemployment benefits.
While that alone speaks to the magnitude of the problem the nation has to grapple with, it also by some degree provides “job consulting firms” with weapons to fleece Nigerian young, vulnerable population.
According to data from Nigeria’s statistics bureau, the nation’s unemployment rate stood at 18.8 percent in September 2017, representing the twelfth consecutive rise since the last quarter of 2014.
Sad as the situation appears, policy makers seem to be ‘unaware’ of its effect on hapless Nigerian youth. But like SATIRE SATURDAY posited in the first part of this series, yours (as a potential scam artist) isn’t to join them in the pity party, but to devise ingenious means of creating opportunities therefrom.
And like you already know, the government is a strong ally. Just pray that Nigerians continue to get the same kind of government they have always had for decades: the government that creates jobs ONLY on the pages of the newspaper.
Now to the basics of this job scamming entreprise.
First, SATIRE SATURDAY’s casual observation reveals that the most fundamental decision in this ‘hustle’ is in the area of selecting appropriate location for this ‘entreprise’. Lagos, by default, is the headquarters of Nigerian unemployed youth––from aspiring pickpockets to runaway NYSC members, Lagos for them is the capital of opportunities. Hence, it follows that this job scamming entreprise has higher prospect of succeeding in Lagos than in, say, Kaura Namoda. So to break even and realise huge returns on investment, Lagos is the ideal location.
Again, most Lagos job seekers are sensitive to your choice of office address within the metropolis; hence, as a potential job scam artist, you must be creative in your choice of location. Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, Ajah, Ikeja––those strategic places resonate well with job seekers. The surest path to raising suspicion (and ultimately recording failure) is to choose Mushin or Ajangbadi or Igbo-Elerin Okokomaiko as your office location.
Thirdly, naming is a powerful tool in this scamming job. The name of your company is the first thing many Lagos job seekers consider: a ‘posh’-sounding name appeals to the senses of this ‘woke’ generation; a rustic name may be off-putting. So names like “Pentals”, “Morrison”, “Suave”, “Montgomery” and other Oyinbo-sounding names will easily connect with many undiscerning Lagos job seekers. It is unclear whether this has anything to do with colonial mentality, the desperation to get something doing due to poverty and government neglect or our people’s obsession with “packaging”. But it is clear the above names would do marketing wonders, particularly if carefully selected phrases like “…Global Consulting”, “…HR Analysts”, “…International Resources” and other worn out faux-posh clichés are thrown into the mix. Conversely, no one would approach you if yours is “Ajanlekoko and Sons HR” or “Alhaji Gidado Katsina Recruitment agency” or, even, “Umukuru Ohafia and Brothers Job Consulting”.
Paying serious attention to optics is very important in this scamming job. Every word, every detail, every message sent out there, matters. For example, while crafting your invite message, refrain from adopting the clichéd: Use “job briefing” rather than the all too popular “Job interview”. “B-r-i-e-f-i-n-g”, ambiguous and fascinatingly brainless, it rouses job seekers’ curiosity and somehow elevates your own (il)legitimacy.
Again, to create a faux impression of seriousness, use a code or reference number in the invite messages sent out to job seekers. You may adopt something like “HR=0001” or “REF=0972”. If you have the heart of a hardened criminal, you may even stylishly impersonate some known companies in your choice of code and reference numbers by adopting codes like “CHEV 101” or “NB 302” or “OND 222”. The codes make people have that hyper-serious perception of what you set out to (not) do.
More importantly, Lagos job seekers are hyper-curious; especially those living in the periphery of the city like Alagbado and Okerube and Ilogbo-elegba. They will bombard you with calls, requesting for details of the invite. The surest way of giving no clue of the scam is to give very little or, more advisably, no information about the invite; let them come and witness the wonders themselves.
At the “briefing”, make sure you have a beautiful (preferably jobless, so that you’d spend less on consulting fee) female with the default accent of the Nigerian radio OAP to address the crowd. Or a male with a pseudo-foreign accent and deep baritone. Nothing works better.
Finally, never use words carelessly when it is time to ‘harvest’ your bounty from job seekers. Don’t say ‘money’ when there are other posh and less fraudulent words like ‘Consultation fee’, ‘Advance charges’, ‘Processing fee’, ‘Job Dissection payment’, among others. And, again, don’t ask for crumbs and never make the ‘fees’ appear outrageous; be intermediate.
Dear potential Lagos ‘job consultancy’ scam artist, if you adhere strictly to this memo, I have the assurance that you’d attain financial independence––even without a legitimate job. And perhaps except Nigeria experiences a miracle and get it right with governance, you’d continue to receive accolades too. It doesn’t matter whether you deserve it or not.
ON A SERIOUS NOTE: The Nigerian government of ‘technicalities’
My editor often says that when a Nigerian public officer chooses to go on leave, he would draft a letter and make it ‘confidential’ and ‘secret’. A mere joke, the statement captures the mentality of the Nigerian public office holder and his conception of what should be tagged ‘confidential’ in a democratic system.
Placed in the context of the rapacious nature of those in charge of our system, the joke partly speaks to how they despise transparency, largely because of their shady ways. It is why some states would pride themselves as the bastion of transparency and accountability and would however fight dirty to hide details of the state budget and other finances from citizens.
And that’s why it is worrisome that it took a PREMIUM TIMES’ report for the presidency to grudgingly admit that President Muhammadu Buhari had a stop-over in London last Tuesday, contrary to details of his scheduled meeting with U.S President Donald Trump. While there may be concerns over the curious London stop-over, especially as some Nigerian who have reservations for the decision of the president to recontest in spite of his health challenges may consider it a clandestine move to yet again go for medical checkup, a prior announcement of the change in movement would have saved the presidency the embarrassment of inventing words to mask the poor communication flow on Thursday.
Then there is the interesting “technical” lingo adopted by presidential spokesperson Garba Sheu, an apparent pointer to the fact that the presidency would rather have had the “Technical Stop-over” issue hidden from the public.
That after-thought of a presidential (non-)explanation offered by Mr Shehu joins a long list of other ‘technicalities’ this government has put forward as alibi for its (in)action on burning issues––from Boko Haram to herdsmen attacks etc––many of which have doubts, half-truths and sometimes barefaced lies hanging around them. Embarrassing.
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